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Im like most and have a solar system but is there anyone else on here that have built or building a gasifier to run a generator?

I have been building mine for the last 6 months (I could have gotten it done along time ago but other things always come up) I hope to have it done in the next couple months and test it with a 10KW generator. If that works good then I may build a smaller version to run my Honda EU2000's. In SHTF gas and even propane will be almost impossible to get so running a generator on wood would be a very good prep...



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A gasifier is an expensive way to run an engine. It would be cheaper to make a reflux still and make alcohol to run your gas engines. That way you use the residue to feed your animals and the liquids to fertilize your garden.
 

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Paul, How is burning wood from your yard expensive? After the initial cost to build one, I can use twigs and small cut up branches (after they dry out of course) to fuel it. When the generator is running I can power an electric chainsaw to cut disks from logs and then chop into little blocks with a hatchet. I see no money involved after its done, could you elaborate?

Dont you have to buy corn mash to make alcohol? in a SHTF I dont think I would have access to anything to make it, I would love to have an alcohol still for drinking or running a small engine..

Thanks,

Doc
 

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Hardwood chips that are seasoned to get the gas from them plus whatever fuel to heat the chips. Think of the manhours & resources involved to be able to do that.
On the same note, you also need fuel to make alcohol. Plus to run a still you need the corn, yeast, & sugar. And its almost impossible to make your mash when its cold so a still is seasonal unless you have a building to atleast make your mash in.

You can store LP gas for years & store hundreds of gallons. So a generator that runs on LP gas is a good option & can store enough fuel for several years. And use that as a backup for a solar system.
 

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You can gasify any dry, dense, carbon based biomass. Bark, dry seedpods, pine cones, woody plants, sticks, dense dry weed stalks, and hard or soft woods can all be gasified.
 
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Discussion Starter #6
I am saving up for the LP gas conversion kits for the EU2000's just so I have that available as well.
Where I will be going there are alot of dead standing trees so there would be no fuel needed for drying, just cut down, cut into disks and chop up into blocks.... There are already videos from guys doing just that on youtube... Engineer775 is one of them, he runs his truck on wood gas and can hook up the gasifier in his truck to his home generator and run his entire property.. I havent heard him say anything about it taking money for fuel to burn wood.

Man hours are what I will have an abundance of in that scenario so cutting wood wouldnt be a problem, if chainsaws werent 2 stroke I would adapt one to run on wood gas so I could cut down the wood using wood....


Doc
 

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Corn is no where near the best crop to use for fuel alcohol. Just because moonshine has been made from corn doesn't mean it is the best. With 5 acres of jerusalem artichokes you get enough from harvesting the stalks (twice) and leaving the bulbs in the ground for eating or harvesting, storing and replanting next year for 10000 gallons. They grow in any soil, even under extreme conditions and put nitrogen back into the soil. The solid waste from the process is excellent high protein feed for livestock and the liquids are very high quality fertilizer. The stalks collect yeast from the air so no yeast is added. You do add some water to the mix for fermentation and yes, you do need heat to operate the still but you are burning wood to heat the wood for gasification which is difficult to store and I can store enough alcohol for years as long as the containers are sealed. When it is time to use the alcohol I add water to it to bring the proof down to 80 - 85% and it can be used to heat the home, run the car, generator or any gas engine. You can use the alcohol to make bio-diesel from vegetable oil and lye - which you can get from the ashes of the wood you use in the still on the days you can't use other forms of heat.

I am not trying to say that gasification is bad - just that it is not as flexible as alcohol. (it can also be used to drink when legalities no longer apply)
 

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Wood gasification is an interesting process, and sounds far easier than producing biodiesel.

In order to produce biodiesel from scratch, I would have to make ethanol or methanol, make the catalyst, grow, harvest, and extract oil from a feedstock such as rapeseed, then finally process it all to make the biofuel. It's possible, but does sound like a lot of extra work.

The process for making methanol is virtually identical to that of making wood gas, and I am guessing that if you ran the wood gas through a condenser, methanol would be one of the primary condensates. Wood gas consists of (depending on the specific technique) mainly a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen, and possibly methane , nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and a few other odds and ends.

Methanol is CH3OH, so as you can see, is also carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen.

The point of all this is that running a generator directly off raw wood gas seems to be a much more elegant direct solution. This technology seems ideal for static equipment like a generator.

As far as vehicles... well, I have seen videos of these, and am not all that impressed. Yeah, it would work, but if the bed of your pickup is full of wood and equipment, it doesn't leave much room for cargo. The whole setups look a little dangerous to me, kinda like riding around with a bomb in the back of your truck.

However, if my hunch is right and you could condense the wood gas into a viable liquid fuel like methanol, a gasification system might just be the way to go.
 

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Paul, jerusalem artichokes are an excellent ethanol feedstock, to be sure, but where are you seeing 10,000 gallons from 5 acres? I would be interested in reading that report. I understand the University of California and others have been looking at jerusalem artichoke, but from what I have seen, they are saying its only slightly better than, say, sugar beets. Since jerusalem artichokes are perennial and sugar beets are biennial, one would expect them to require less energy in cultivation, which is another big plus.

"Our agronomic and fermentation studies with the 'Sunchoke' cultivar at Davis in 1979 and 1980 reveal that ethanol yields of about 600 gallons per acre may be possible on good agricultural land." Source: Fuel alcohol from Jerusalem artichoke

So, just out of curiosity, where are you getting your figures?
 

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The link you listed said that "... Shoot harvest on 17 July produced 15 tons per acre ... shoot harvests of the plants with flower buds revealed up to 20 percent sugars (weight to volume) in the press juice-largely sucrose with small amounts of fructose and glucose. Shoot dry weight on 27 August was slightly more than 13 tons per acre with approximately 30 percent extractable sugars"

Harvesting the stalks prior to flowering produces 50% more sugar than harvesting once flowers are visible. It takes 40 days between harvesting and the bulb (tubers) can stay in the ground to provide new plants the following years. The dry weight of the second harvest was 5 tons per acre with 4 tons of fermentable sugars. That is just over 1300 gallons of alcohol. (allowing the stalks are ground and mashed rather than boiled (which destroys the yeast) and fermented to 15% alcohol content by weight) then distilling that to produce your ethanol in a reflux still (which is 4 times as efficient as a pot still). per acre / harvest 1300 x 5 acres = 6500 gallons of alcohol per harvest x 2 harvests = 13000 gallons.

And that is an on-going process each year because the bulbs (tubers) are left in the ground to produce plants the following year. In some locales you might get three harvests but in my area I would only expect two per year.
 

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So, if I am seeing this right, they got 600 gallons per acre because they only processed the tubers and not the shoots? You also say, "...fermented to 15% alcohol content by weight," and they say, "The resulting mash has an acceptable 7 to 8 percent alcohol content..."

I'm just confused, I guess. This, of course, is nothing new. :)

Either way, these jerusalem artichokes seem to be the way to go.

There is the problem of invasiveness, however. "It can be destructive to other plants and gardens and can overtake huge areas if left untamed. Commercial fields growing sunchoke which then change to other vegetables or crops often must be eradicated with glyphosate (sometimes twice) to stop the spread of the sunchokes. Each sunchoke root can make an additional 75 to as many as 200 tubers by fall end." (source: Jerusalem artichoke - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

That last is an uncited source, so I dunno, but it's something to consider.

I usually hate artichokes, but this one is sounding pretty good. Thanks Paul!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Wow, I really need to read up on making my own alcohol from these jerusalem artichokes. sounds like a fun thing to try!!
and Paul, I agree with you on if you need gas for a vehicle it would be much easier to use alcohol then to try putting a gasifier in the back of a truck.... Plus you can drink it!! I like that

Thanks for the input guys, if you have any good places to read up on making my own still and how to go about making alcohol, please pass it along

Doc
 

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So, if I am seeing this right, they got 600 gallons per acre because they only processed the tubers and not the shoots? You also say, "...fermented to 15% alcohol content by weight," and they say, "The resulting mash has an acceptable 7 to 8 percent alcohol content..."

I'm just confused, I guess. This, of course, is nothing new. :)

Either way, these jerusalem artichokes seem to be the way to go.

There is the problem of invasiveness, however. "It can be destructive to other plants and gardens and can overtake huge areas if left untamed. Commercial fields growing sunchoke which then change to other vegetables or crops often must be eradicated with glyphosate (sometimes twice) to stop the spread of the sunchokes. Each sunchoke root can make an additional 75 to as many as 200 tubers by fall end." (source: Jerusalem artichoke - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

That last is an uncited source, so I dunno, but it's something to consider.

I usually hate artichokes, but this one is sounding pretty good. Thanks Paul!
Just a real quick note - I have to go and I am not going to have time to finish reading this all tonight.
There are wines that are 12% and there are wines that are 18% - just as there are beers that are 3% and some that are 5+%. If you allow the natural yeast to complete the process you get more alcohol in your "beer" (that's what it's called). When you distill it there is more alcohol to distill and if you use a reflux still all that alcohol is removed and put into your stores. Low water content (usually less than 5%) and it is possible to get 99% alcohol with careful control of the stack.

The tubers are practically worthless if you are cutting the stalks. The tubers don't grow well because all the work is going into the stalks to make them bloom and make seeds. What you want is the energy that the plant is using to make the seeds before it is used for that. That is why the stalks with blossoms have 20% sugar and the ones that are harvested before blossoms have 30% sugar. The tubers will not spread if you rob them of their energy by harvesting the stalks - they have enough energy to make it through the winter and to grow new stalks which feed the tubers. Each harvest is like removing the honey from a colony of bees - but without the stinging.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
All the research I have done says that you need to mix the alcohol with gasoline and only 10% alcohol....
Is there a way to run a gasoline powered generator on just alcohol?

Im always looking for other alternatives and ways of running generators, quads etc...


Doc
 

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Thanks Prep.... I will start small and work up to something a little larger to see.


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With ethanol the modifications to the carburetor will be:
1. jets will need to be enlarged to add 25 - 30% more area to the opening.
2. idle feed restrictions will need to be opened up 25 - 30% in area.
3. The air bleeds will have to be reduced 12 - 15% in area
4. the power valve restriction will have to be opened up 30% in area.
5. a metal float or a fiber one made for alcohol will be needed and the float level will have to be raised slightly.
6. the accelerator pump should be set for the longest stroke and the nozzles opened up 12 - 15% in area.

Alcohol does not vaporize at low temps so a pre-heater method should be included for cold starts. (depending on engine size this can be a simple diesel pre-heater in the intake air tube. To get the most out of your conversion you will want to increase the compression to at least 12:1 (most engines on gasoline run 8 to 9:1 compression) Your engine will need the same amount of air or slightly less so changes to the carburetor and intake side are not necessary but you will want to increase the size of your exhaust because you are using more liquid that turns to exhaust. From my research I have found that the most effective choice of power and economy is to use 80 - 85 % alcohol with 15 - 20% water for your fuel. With air cooled engines you might have to block off just about 1/4 of the open side of the cooling fins to get the engine to operate at the correct temperature. Alcohol burns cooler than gasoline.

Good luck with your experimenting and have fun!
 
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Im a noob here but wouldn't a fresnel lens focused on a schedule 80 steel pipe connected to a closed loop steam system genset generate useable energy? A tracking system is fairly easy. Could charge a forklift battery all day ( weather permitting).

Im thinking a combination system ( wind, solar and steam) would be the most feasible.

Compost water heating is one way to heat water and your house. Two wells can cool it as well ( pull from the upstream and dump into the down stream utilizing heat exchangers).

I know it sounds like a lot of design but seems feasible.
 

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Im a noob here but wouldn't a fresnel lens focused on a schedule 80 steel pipe connected to a closed loop steam system genset generate useable energy? A tracking system is fairly easy. Could charge a forklift battery all day ( weather permitting).

Im thinking a combination system ( wind, solar and steam) would be the most feasible.

Compost water heating is one way to heat water and your house. Two wells can cool it as well ( pull from the upstream and dump into the down stream utilizing heat exchangers).

I know it sounds like a lot of design but seems feasible.
DubyaGee,

Think for a minute what the weather is like when you need to heat your home. Now think about how efficient a Fresnel lens would be under those cloudy snowing conditions.
As for running a steam generator you need a lot more heat (BTUs) than you are going to get from a Fresnel lens. You need steam at 300 to 500 psi and enough to displace your cylinder twice for every revolution at 1250 rpm. You will need about 450 BTUs to equal 10 hp and that will only give you about 5500 watts. A coal fired boiler can do that easily but not sunlight and a big lens. Remember that your lens only gets that hot in one very small spot (granted a Fresnel lens can get to 3000F at the focal point but you are talking about heating a pipe that heats the water and there are just too many losses even on a good day.

It would be far more practical to put a heat exchanger down 15 feet in the ground and circulate air through it. During the summer you can pull air at 55F into the house to cool it and during the winter you can run the air 70F in your house through a heat exchanger and then heat the air that is now 62F into your furnace to heat your home efficiently. It is easier to heat air from 62F to 70F than it is to heat air from -10F to 70F. You get fresh air all year long and a reduced heating and cooling bill. at 15 feet the ground temperature is close to 55F all year long.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
PaulS;63060 It would be far more practical to put a heat exchanger down 15 feet in the ground and circulate air through it. During the summer you can pull air at 55F into the house to cool it and during the winter you can run the air 70F in your house through a heat exchanger and then heat the air that is now 62F into your furnace to heat your home efficiently. It is easier to heat air from 62F to 70F than it is to heat air from -10F to 70F. You get fresh air all year long and a reduced heating and cooling bill. at 15 feet the ground temperature is close to 55F all year long.[/QUOTE said:
Paul,
Awesome information, I will be passing this on to my BIL as he owns property in Idaho and he will be building a house on it in the near future. He is a General contractor so all the work will be done by him and his crew. If he doesnt know this information already it will be a VERY good addition to his plans as it gets real cold between those mountains....

Keep the good info coming in your posts! I look forward to your next idea.
P.S. are you the same PaulS as on Cast boolits forum? or was it Marlin owners forum?

Doc
 
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